10 hiring mistakes you will regret

Woman looking askance at someone at her office door

Regrets, you’ll have a few. Hopefully too few to mention.

If you really want to cut down on them, though, try to avoid these common hiring mistakes:

Hiring as a favour: Your friend/your friend’s wife/nephew needs a job. They’re not the best candidate. Maybe they don’t even have any experience. But you want to help out, so you give them a chance. If the person actually works in your field and has some skill and experience, this can work out, but, otherwise, it’s almost always going to go bad. And in the end, your friendship is going to suffer. Hire the person who is best for the position over the person you want to help. It’s always a bonus if they turn out to be one and the same.

Hiring under pressure: The boss is pressuring you to hire her niece/husband/best friend, and the person isn’t qualified but you know that if you don’t comply, it could lead to problems. You can try speaking to the boss matter of factly and hoping she sees reason, or simply hiring the person you think is right, despite her requests. But you might not be able to get out of it without causing damage to your relationship.

Not knowing exactly what you’re looking for: Before embarking on the hiring process, you need to know exactly what it is you need. Give the job an official title, craft the description carefully. Be sure to include everything you need and resist the urge to throw in skills and qualifications that you actually don’t. Failing to do this can result in finding a candidate who doesn’t fit your needs.

Hiring in a rush: You have a role to fill and you need to fill it fast, or things that need doing won’t get done. But that doesn’t mean you should rush into hiring. Give the process and the candidates the attention and consideration required to make the right decision.

Not checking references: This is often part of rushing the process — You did the interviews, you read the resume, you can figure this one out on your own, right? Or some might make excuses for skipping the reference check simply because not everyone likes calling up strangers. But don’t skip it. If you do, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

Hiring without putting the candidate to the test. According to one report, 66% of hiring managers regret their interview-based hiring decisions. One way to avoid this is to give the candidate a test, get them to do “the job” in or after the interview – by giving a presentation, solving a problem, creating a chart, writing a report. Create a hypothetical situation or task to avoid being accused of getting people to do free work. This will help you get the answer to the only interview question that really matters: Can you do the job?

Hiring for skill over attitude: A person with an excellent skillset and an attitude problem will always have an attitude problem, while someone with a great attitude who needs to learn some skills will soon have a great attitude and the skills. Hire for attitude. Train for skills. Always. You’re almost guaranteed to regret doing the opposite.

Not giving proper training/onboarding: I once was hired for an ad copywriting job, the posting for which boasted “No experience necessary!” The company also provided literally zero training. The result? I had no idea what I was doing. I tried to ask questions but nothing was answered. I read books on advertising and tried to figure it out, but, in the end the learning curve was just too steep and I was let go after two weeks. I felt at the time that it must be my fault, but now, over a decade later, I’ve decided that the bulk of the blame rests with the company. Make sure your employees are trained, introduced, onboarded, welcomed, and – most important – that they know what is expected of them and how to do it. Ensure that the new employee has the opportunity to ask questions and that they are answered to the employee’s satisfaction – not just your own satisfaction.

Not being honest: Don’t oversell the role or hold back information because you desperately want the person to be interested. If your company is experiencing problems that could affect a new employee, you should come clean about that. Don’t hide duties and try to spring them on someone later. Many people leave jobs because, they say, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” And replacing employees is costly. Make sure they know what they’re signing up for – even if it means they might not want to sign up.

Trusting your gut too much or not enough: Ignoring the feeling that something is amiss, despite all looking good on paper, can be a grave mistake. Ignoring the fact that everything doesn’t look good on paper to go with your “good feeling” about a candidate can be an even worse mistake. There is a fine line here and you have to walk it.


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